Courage to Green the Gap
Living at »Kaiser Friedrich« in Berlin-Charlottenburg
A building gap had emerged in surroundings dominated by listed buildings from the late nineteenth century. Space was restricted, party walls surrounded the vacant plot, the neighbourhood aesthetics dictated the form and the existing rear courtyards were confined. &MICA’s task was to create high-quality living space here despite the density. A lot of sketching and experimenting with the model was done until the optimal form was found: the eighth design variant revealed the opportunity for 5,000 m2 of living space in a configuration that created three interconnected courtyards and an aesthetic in which nature plays a central role.
All seven storeys are fronted by alternating balconies and loggias on the courtyard side, which the residents can plant as they wish. This creates a colourful façade garden. The green aesthetic is enhanced by the flat bars of the balcony railings, which – as a vibrant salute to the clients – are painted in the chrome green colour typical of Cologne’s bridges. The flat bars of the balustrades are arranged at different angles. This counters the uniformity of the openings and creates a chequerboard pattern in the strong vertical of the courtyard façade. The façade to the street fits discreetly into the historical context through its use of light grey concrete and anthracite-grey window frames.
Inside are 63 apartments, each with 35 to 125 m2 of living space. The set-back upper storey has spacious penthouse units with their own roof terraces, while the ground floor units lead out directly to the courtyard. The narrow courtyards are cleverly interconnected, creating seamless passageways between them that provide additional, flowing outdoor spaces.
»Kaiser Friedrich« and Utilisation of Space
Building for Light
To facilitate ample exposure to natural light under tight spatial conditions, the façades have been designed with generous use of glass.
Building for Space
The seven-storey building is designed in such a way that three courtyards are created from the confined courtyard area, thus expanding the public outdoor space. The verdant courtyards are interconnected by spacious passageways that yield additional space for play, communication and community.
We turn all the screws.
We can have the greatest influence if we turn all the screws – even the small ones – as early as possible in the design process. In doing so, we must also question some demands or previous standards and be prepared to make compromises for the future, for a better climate overall.